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NATO ministers commemorate Türkiye quake victims in minute of silence

Tuesday's NATO defense ministers meeting started with a minute of silence honoring the victims of last week's earthquakes in Türkiye.

Before opening the two-day North Atlantic Council meeting, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called on the defense chiefs to "pause for a moment of silence in solidarity with our ally Türkiye."

He also expressed "heartfelt condolences to all the victims of the earthquake," and reassured Türkiye of NATO's support.

The two-day meeting of NATO's highest decision-making body is slated to discuss support for Ukraine and long-term plans to strengthen the military alliance's defense and deterrence capabilities.

In his opening remarks, Stoltenberg underlined that Russian President Vladimir Putin "underestimated the strength and the bravery of the people of Ukraine" and the unity of NATO when Moscow launched its war against its neighbor a year ago.

NATO has provided "unprecedented support" to Ukraine, he said, pledging further aid.

During the closed-door session, the defense ministers from NATO countries, invitees Finland and Sweden, and Ukraine will discuss the future support for Kyiv.

NATO allies have committed to providing over $50 billion in military aid to Ukraine since the beginning of the war, including ammunition, military equipment, armored vehicles, and battle tanks.

The ministers are also expected to discuss providing fighter jets to Ukraine, though Stoltenberg has earlier said that delivering on what has already been promised is more urgent.

On Wednesday, NATO ministers will continue by discussing plans on boosting military production to replace stockpiles exhausted by the support given Ukraine.

They will also review plans for strengthening NATO's defense, including the protection of critical infrastructure, and are expected to agree on establishing a new virtual network of satellites.

Support for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, and Moldova, are also on the agenda.

Source: Anadolu Agency